If you haven’t heard of Porthcothan, located on the north Cornwall coast between Padstow and Watergate Bay, then great. It’s all part of this small village and beach’s charm.
Backed by grassy dunes, the beach opens out far at low tide to connect with small coves to the north and south, while at high it shelters from swell and winds making it a favourite with families who can enjoy sheltered bathing. One of Cornwall’s most spectacular stretches of coastline – Carnewas and Bedruthan Steps – lies within walking distance to the south, where Cornish choughs can be spotted.
In the water, swimming and boardsports are the best way to pass the day, with surf schools preferring Porthcothan’s sheltered waters during big swells. On land, the small sleepy village offers enough to get you by.
We doubt you’ll want to leave this hidden gem, but if you do, you’ll find the popular beach Constantine Bay and the nearest village of St Merryn only a ten-minute drive away.
Porthcothan is a small quiet village, and that’s all part of the charm. Aside from Porthcothan Bay Stores selling ice creams, pasties and hot drinks, you’ll find the Tredrea Inn (you can’t miss the Cornwall flag painted on its side) or the Berryfields Farm Café which boasts one of the best Cornish cream teas we’ve had. But fine food lovers are also in luck, with the heady gastronomic delights of Padstow and Watergate Bay and easy drive away.
Porthcothan is a dog-friendly beach all year round, with no seasonal dog ban in place. Some of the county’s most spectacular coastal walking routes are also a short walk away, with dogs welcome on the entire 630-mile stretch of coast path throughout the year.
Parking, shops and toilet facilities are all close by in the village. There is also level access on to the beach. Lifeguards patrol the beach from late May until the end of September.